Bob Martin: Our guest on today’s edition of Imagine America Radio is Mike Couling, campus president, Lincoln Tech in Grand Prairie, Texas, which is just outside Dallas, Texas. Today’s topic on Imagine America Radio is the coronavirus.
So Mike, what I want to start off with is, I’d like to get an idea of what has been Lincoln Tech – Grand Prairie’s response to the current outbreak of coronavirus, please.
Mike Couling: Certainly and thank you for having me on the interview today. And here at Grand Prairie, obviously we are responding to the coronavirus; we are responding to the ever-changing executive orders that come out. Governor Abbott, the governor, has issued a stay order now updated until the end of April, April 30. Grand Prairie is located in Tarrant County, so executive orders of Tarrant County has followed the governor’s orders as well. With that, we cannot have live school, live education, so on March 18th we transitioned 100% to distance learning. And so all of our students, between the six programs that we offer here between two campuses, are doing that. And so our instructors now are also remote; all of our distance operations—our support departments—are remote. There’s some—I would say the essential personnel that are allowed, per those executive orders, are allowed to come on the campus (and that would be our education leadership team, myself) to support distance learning and the various support departments during this time. And given we’re hands-on with those six programs, and I would just say, just amazed every day, the staff as we transition to distance learning, distance operations, to make that happen—very engaged with our students, instructors.
The campus, so you know, is closed to the public. I say to the group that this is going to just make us stronger as we come out on the other side, as we learn some things, polished on Canvas that our instructors are really getting adept at. So it’s what we have to do. We have to think positive and optimistic about the other side and hopefully this is just temporary like we all think.
Lee Doubleday: Fantastic. Now Mike, this is Lee. I’m talking to Imagine America Radio. I’m talking to Mike Couling, campus president of Lincoln Tech in Grand Prairie, just outside of Dallas. Now I think I heard you say that your campuses are now teaching completely online.
Lee: Are you still open for tours? Or is that something that’s done virtually as well?
Mike: Unfortunately no, the campus is closed to the public, but very important that we have the tours, so we’re working in conjunction with our academic affairs and we’re using the platform of Canvas for this distance learning, and we’re readying the Canvas orientation shelves so that we can do that and provide the virtual tours as well.
Having said that, we just had orientation today for one of our programs, the CNC manufacturing program, and so we had our PowerPoint, and in that we had our virtual tour by way of various photos of that campus and were able to speak to the students and give them a virtual tour that way.
Lee: Great. Now let’s say I’m a student and I’m interested in going to school there. Can I still enroll for a future class? Is there a website or somewhere that I can go to learn more about your upcoming start dates?
Mike: Well, certainly. So our admissions team is remote as well. We are fielding any of the leads that come in, responding to any of the questions that the students might have. In fact, we do have an upcoming HVAC start. It’ll be in that platform as well, and that will be on April 24th. For future HVAC programs, which is going to be the highlight of our discussion today, it’s June 2nd and July 13th. So we’re continuing to see enrollments coming in each and every day for all of our programs. I think, now, students are thinking about probably the other side when this crisis is over. And many of them are thinking about that specialized career training that they want to get to change their lives and think about their dreams and what they want to do after this is all over.
Lee: Let’s say that the campuses are still closed because of this virus. What will happen? Will the campuses start online?
Mike: As I said, we started 100% online on March 18th and with that, we actually had starts on March 23rd and March 26th. So day one immediately was on the Canvas platform, distance learning. We had a start today, April 9th, for the CNC manufacturing, and that will be starting tomorrow. Today was the orientation. And then we’re readying for starts the week of April 20th for more starts. So we are still continuing with all of our starts. It’s just a different platform right now for the students, but we are enrolling, yes.
Bob: Bob Martin again. We’re talking to Mike Couling with Lincoln Tech – Grand Prairie. If I was a guidance counselor, and I’m not going to see—chances are I’m not going to see my students till the end of the year, probably not the end of this year—how would you recommend I, as a guidance counselor, help any student that might be interested in going to Lincoln Tech – Grand Prairie?
Mike: A couple ways. First, through our website, lincolntech.edu. And then obviously, if you look for Grand Prairie, get more information about this campus. I would also leave you with my email and certainly welcome to discuss any of those questions with anybody that has further questions and interest about the programs that we offer here, and that’s firstname.lastname@example.org. And also, my phone number here at the campus is (972) 809-1135, and my extension is 41101.
Bob: Well, you took the words right out of my mouth, Mike. I appreciate it. We’re talking to Mike Couling, campus president, Lincoln Tech – Grand Prairie, just outside Dallas, Texas. The topic of today’s conversation is how his campus has responded to the current coronavirus epidemic. I have three takeaways from here, Mike. Correct me if I’m wrong. If you want to add one, that’s fine, too.
First takeaway that I have is that Grand Prairie – Lincoln Tech is open and doing business, and is trying as best they possibly can to service the current existing student base. Although, as you said, it’s gone almost completely online at this point.
Secondly, I heard you say that Lincoln Tech – Grand Prairie is enrolling new students and that is an ongoing process. And I believe you said they could go to the website, and if they go to the website, they can scroll down and they can see the campus and they can see any upcoming tours, any upcoming enrollments, etc.
And then finally, you’re already taken my third one, which is, you’ve already given your personal contact information, which was outstanding because it puts a face on this whole podcast. So I would just encourage any and all of our listeners to contact Mike directly if they have any questions about this particular broadcast or this particular campus, Lincoln Tech – Grand Prairie.
You’ve been listening to Mike Couling, campus president, Lincoln Tech – Grand Prairie, just outside Dallas, Texas. The topic has been how is Mike’s campus responding to the current coronavirus. We want to thank our guest, Mike, for taking valuable time out of his obviously very busy schedule to talk to us on this edition of Imagine America Radio. I’d also like to thank the audience for taking their time out in what’s got to be extremely hectic days to download this podcast and get information on this particular campus, Lincoln Tech – Grand Prairie.
On behalf of my colleague, Lee Doubleday, and myself, we want to thank each and every one of you for participating, and we want to tell everyone in our viewing audience that we hope you will just be safe. Thank you very much.